Pakistan v England 2015-16 October 2, 2015

'Buttler will come back stronger' - Jones

Play 02:09
'Buttler will come back stronger' - Jones

Geraint Jones, England's 2005 Ashes-winning wicketkeeper, has backed Jos Buttler for a swift return to form in the first Test against Pakistan, following his much-needed break during the recent ODIs against Australia.

Buttler is expected to make his return to the fold in England's opening warm-up game against Pakistan A in Sharjah on Monday, having handed the gloves over to Jonny Bairstow following a third-ball duck in the second ODI against Australia at Lord's in September.

Buttler, like Jones a decade ago, has been England's first-choice wicketkeeper in all three formats since taking over from the previous Test incumbent, Matt Prior, during the 2014 home series against India.

He started the triple role brightly, with scores of 85 and 70 in his first two Test innings at the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford, and is also the scorer of England's two fastest centuries in one-day cricket - an astonishing 61-ball onslaught against Sri Lanka at Lord's in 2014, and a no-less-remarkable 66-ball effort against New Zealand at Edgbaston in June, in which England passed 400 for the first time in an ODI.

However, the burden of being on constant duty appeared to have taken its toll during the Ashes, in which Buttler made 122 runs at 15.25, with a top score of 42 coming in the fifth and final Test at The Oval.

Until his break, Buttler had missed just two of England's 45 matches since his Test debut in July 2014, both through injury. Only Joe Root, who was also rested during the Australia ODIs, had made more appearances in that time and Jones warned that the pressures on modern-day wicketkeepers were so intense that careful management would be needed in the future.

Jos Buttler will return for England in the UAE after a break during the one-day series with Australia © Getty Images

"Don't underestimate how taxing it is being a wicketkeeper in all three forms," Jones told ESPNcricinfo. "The pressure when he goes out there, the expectation to hit the ball to all parts. He's such a fantastic player, the public want to see all the shots he can play and he'll want to do that himself.

"It's good that he got a rest towards the back-end of the summer because, without doubt, he's the best we've got, and will be for the foreseeable future. I can see him playing for as long as he wants."

Jones, who retired from professional cricket last month following his starring role in Gloucestershire's Royal London Cup final victory over Surrey at Lord's, endured incessant scrutiny in the course of his 34-Test career, not least because his opposite number in Australia's ranks, Adam Gilchrist, broke the mould for modern-day wicketkeepers with his flawless glovework and aggressive, counterattacking strokeplay.

"Everyone blames Gilchrist but blaming is the wrong word," Jones said. "He moved the game forward like you wouldn't believe and now it's the standard you have to get to. Your keeping has to be impeccable and you have to score regular hundreds, and the game can only be good for that.

"That's where Jos fits in so well because he can do both fantastically well. Batting at six and seven is such a crucial role because of your weight of runs. It means getting sides to a good total or getting them out of a bit of trouble."

Having succumbed to the offspin of Nathan Lyon on four occasions during the Ashes, Buttler knows his technique will be challenged on the slow, spin-friendly surfaces of the UAE. Jones, however, believes his talent will shine through in the end.

"It's been a tough summer but that's part of international cricket," Jones said. "But he'll be better for it and, going forward, I expect him to play really well and contribute strongly."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. He tweets @miller_cricket

Comments